Yesterday was the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year and officially the middle of winter. I love the winter season, mainly because it’s such a change from our usual hot weather here in Perth and I am more than happy to take advantage of the baggy woollen jumpers by drinking a lot of hot chocolate and sneaking a few puddings in after supper. However, if you are pining for summer days and want to do nothing more than stay rugged up inside until springtime, here are a few ways to make the winter season more bearable.
1. Try a new restaurant
Just because it’s cold outside, it doesn’t mean you have to hibernate all winter (yes, that includes you, people of Perth). There are some gorgeous restaurants and coffee shops around that have toasty fireplaces and outdoor heaters and at this time of year there are plenty of special deals on (especially during the week) to lure people out on frosty nights.
2. Plan a holiday
If the thought of icy winds and chilly mornings makes you feel gloomy, start planning your summer holidays. Planning a getaway takes a lot of research so winter evenings are the perfect time to start scouring the internet for information on every kind of tropical island holiday you can dream of. It’s even more fun doing this by a toasty fireplace with cosy blankets and a hot cup of tea with biscuits for dunking.
3. Learn a new skill
Winter is an ideal time to perfect a skill you’ve been wanting to learn for a while. Whether it’s learning a new language, mastering a musical instrument or getting crafty with some paintbrushes and knitting needles, it’s much easier being home working on a project when it’s cooler out than in the summer when the temptation is much greater to be outside in the sun with an ice-cream and a good book.
4. Have a bubble bath
Having a bubble bath on a hot, summer day just doesn’t feel right so take the time during the winter months to get your bubble bath fix. Light some candles, put some relaxing music on and maybe even grab a cheeky glass of wine (or two) to make it extra-special. Bubble baths are so beneficial for reducing stress levels and for warming you up on cold winter nights. I highly recommend using Lush’s ‘The Comforter’ bubble bar for mounds of lovely foam and bubbles.
5. Make a bonfire
One of my favourite memories of growing up in South Africa was having all our family over for a braai on a Saturday afternoon (or barbecue for the non-South Africans) and then sitting around the fire afterwards, roasting marshmallows and telling stories. Just looking at an open fire makes you feel warmer and winter is the perfect time of year to get the bonfire going, wrap up in warm blankets and sip hot chocolate under the stars.
6. Experiment with cooking
As soon as the weather starts to get cooler, I automatically start craving warm, comfort food. There is nothing nicer than sitting in your pyjamas watching a good movie while eating a hearty winter stew with crusty bread or a homemade blackberry crumble with hot custard. Winter is a great time to indulge in some hearty, homemade treats and the great thing about making them yourself is you know there are no additives or preservatives harming your body. My challenge this winter is to come up with the perfect Mulled Wine recipe.
7. Get organised
Cold nights at home are a great time to get yourself organised and finish off those projects that always seem to get put off for later days. Catch-up on correspondence, organise your photo collection, sort out your wardrobe, finish off some art projects or sort through all the paperwork that piles up in desk drawers. It is such a satisfying feeling to complete a project that has been sitting untouched for months and I find that getting these things out of the way is like a mental clear-out and gives my brain new space for fresh ideas and inspiration.
8. Try a winter sport
I recently learned how to ski (in Dubai of all places!) and it was one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever tried. Even though it can be the last thing you feel like doing on a chilly day, it is so much fun to embrace the weather and try activities you can only do at this time of year. There is ice-skating, snowboarding or tobogganing and if sports are not really your thing, you can even just go for a walk in the park. My body seems to work so much better in the cold weather and it’s so refreshing when you’ve been inside all day by the heater to clear the cobwebs and breathe in some fresh air.